Video – Fr. Maximilian – The Cornerstone #1: A Primer on the Absolute Primacy of Christ

By March 31, 2007January 12th, 2012Fr. Maximilian Dean, The Cornerstone

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Ave Maria!

Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean initiates a series based on his book A Primer on the Absolute Primacy of Christ: Bl. John Duns Scotus and the Franciscan Thesis. In this program he introduces the question, "If Adam had not sinned, would God have become incarnate?" and gives an overview of the position of St. Thomas Aquinas (Thomistic thesis) and Bl. John Duns Scotus (Franciscan thesis). Come learn about the Incarnation as we Celebrate our official Grand Opening which we had on the feast of the Incarnation ...

Ave Maria!

A Primer on the Absolute Primacy of Christ
Author: Fr. Maximilian M. Dean, FI


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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Robin and Roy says:

    This is a wonderful production! As succinct and clear a presentation as we have ever heard on this topic! You are a natural on the screen!

    This topic should generate some great debate material!

    As the Easter vigil approaches, perhaps you could address in this regard the “Oh Happy Fault” passage of the Exultet? It was when I first asked about this that that I learned of the Thomistic vs. Franciscan thoughts on the subject.

    Ave Maria!
    Roy and Robin Kerlin

  • Alex Gibbs says:

    Fr. Maximilian,
    I enjoyed the pilot very much and it seems that the series will be excellent. I wanted to thank you for sending me the Franciscan Charism book. It was a great read and taught me a lot about St. Francis, the Franciscans of the Immaculate charism, and the imaculate conception. We would love to see you all at Temple again and we hope to organize some type of hermitage/retreat in the future.

    God Bless,
    Alex Gibbs

  • Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean says:

    Ave Maria!

    Alex–God willing we’ll see you soon on retreat!

    Roy & Robin–I welcome dialogue on this subject from all sides: those who follow St. Thomas Aquinas on the Incarnation and those who follow Bl. John Duns Scotus and anyone who has an observation, concern or question on the subject matter. I myself learned of the Thomistic thesis and Franciscan thesis on the Incarnation in a Mediaeval Philosophy class and after much meditation sided with the Franciscan thesis (this was before I became a Francisan!!!)–so I have a love for the topic, especially from the Scriptural point of view (watch my next show!!!).
    I have sung the Exultet with the “O happy fault” for the Vigil Mass many times. Since, as you noted, we are entering Holy Week I will post my thoughts on the “felix culpa” now! I hope to touch on it later in the series, however it is a little premature to do a show on it at this point since I’m just introducing the topic. Here is the response to the “O happy fault” from my book on the absolute primacy of Christ:

    “O happy fault????

    There is a saying in the Church that goes like this, “lex orandi, lex credendi”, the norm of prayer is the norm of faith. In other words, as the Church prays so she believes—her prayers indicate her Creed. Now every year at the Easter Vigil there is sung with fervent joy in Catholic churches throughout the world the Exultet. In the last half of that triumphant hymn the cantor sings, “What good would life have been to us, had Christ not come as our Redeemer???? Then, a few lines later, “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!??? These are troublesome lines to the scotist (anyone holding the Franciscan thesis), to say the least! However, this is not a closed case for the thomistic thesis; some observations must be made.
    First, notice that these lines speak of a Redeemer. Nowhere does it say that sin was necessary for the Incarnation, or that Adam’s fall occasioned the eternal predestination of Christ. Simply put, if Adam had not sinned Christ would not have come as Redeemer and so the sin of Adam can be said to be necessary if Christ is to come as our Redeemer. ‘No sin, no Redeemer’; but it does not follow ‘no sin, no Incarnation.’ Also, the scotist acknowledges that after the fall life would not be good to us at all without the Redeemer.
    Moreover, is holy Mother Church inviting us to rejoice in Adam’s fall? “O happy fault???!?! I respond in the negative, and for two reasons. First of all, this is a poetic hymn praising God for the victory of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. For example, the earth is invited to “rejoice???—obviously a poetic expression. The cantor speaks of this night being chosen by God “to see??? the Resurrection—poetic in that night cannot “see.??? And so we take the Exultet (written by St. Ambrose) for what it is, a poetic Easter proclamation of joy and victory. Besides, to be happy and rejoice at another’s fall would be a sin against charity. Certainly the Church is not exulting in Adam’s wicked deed, but rejoicing in God’s victory over sin through the Paschal mystery. In the final analysis, a scotistic Franciscan even more will sing out the Exultet at the Easter Vigil with great jubilation and still hold tenaciously to the absolute primacy of Christ the King. For it is this very primacy which accounts for our good fortune, despite the apparently definitive success of the serpent and irreversible character of the original disaster. “O happy fault,??? not because it caused the Incarnation, but because God in His mercy willed to remedy our woe in such a perfect way. The Church, then, is not declaring a relative primacy of Christ in the Exultet, but rather, she is rejoicing wholeheartedly in Christ the King’s victorious resurrection from the dead.

    Blessed Holy Week to all… Ave Maria!

  • Robin and Roy says:

    Ave Maria!

    Thanks for posting your reply so quickly and thoroughly, Fr. Maximillian!

  • Scott says:

    Ave Maria!
    I’m a little worm on a big hook in this discussion, but here it goes:
    First, just to clarify, Jesus the Son of God has always, and will always exist. What we are speaking of here is the Son of God becoming flesh, correct?
    Second, before God created man, He knew that our first parents would sin – fair enough? Even knowing this, He created us just the same because He is infinite love. He then also knew, before the first sin, that His only Son would come to Redeem man, through and with Mary, again, because He is Love.
    There are many issues here, but those were my thoughts on the issue at present 🙂
    In The Sacred Hearts,
    Scott M.

  • Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean says:

    Ave Maria!

    Scott–Thanks for your questions. I’ll be talking about all of these things and many more as the series progresses.

    Briefly, in response to your questions, yes we are speaking of the Word becoming flesh (the Word is eternal without beginning, but the humanity of Jesus does have a beginning–Would the Eternal Word have become flesh if man had not sinned is the question that all the scholastics asked; it being a given that the Word always exists as the Second Divine Person of the Trinity).

    As you noted, God foresaw the sin of Adam–the question is which did God will first: man first, then Jesus as a remedy for sin; or Jesus first, then man for Him and, foreseeing Adam’s sin, God willed that His Incarnate Son also redeem man. So it boils down to this: what caused God to become Incarnate… man’s need? does Jesus primarily exist for us, as a means to reconciliation? [no sin, no Incarnation] or did God will the Incarnation for its own sake quite apart from any consideration of sin? in which case we exist for Him (see 1 Cor. 3:23 and Col. 1:16). [sin or nor sin, God decreed the Incarnation] Stay tuned and God bless…